Registered nurses provide a shoulder for grieving family members to lean on. They hold their patients’ hands and offer emotional support during some of the most difficult times in life. Nursing isn’t for the faint of heart—it’s a ministry to others and it can be emotionally draining. RNs can find solace in their faith communities, but it’s also essential for them to develop their own emotional resiliency.
What Resiliency Is
Resilient people are often thought of as being able to continue on with the tasks of life, regardless of the misfortunes they’ve experienced. Some view resiliency as an ingrained personality trait, while others perceive it as a strategy that one can work at using more effectively. Consider how strongly any of the following applies to you:
- People describe me as optimistic. Challenges are temporary and I’m confident I’ll overcome them.
- I don’t dwell on anger or discouragement.
- I can easily cope with situations with high levels of uncertainty and ambiguity.
- I’m a curious person who asks lots of questions. I adjust well to change.
- I laugh at myself easily and can find humor in even difficult situations.
- I learn from my own experiences and the experiences of others.
- I’m a problem solver. I can make less-than-ideal situations work for me.
- I’m durable. I’ve gotten through many tough situations just fine.
- I can find the silver lining in any misfortune. I look for opportunities in the midst of adversity.
How Resiliency Applies to Nursing
People doing all sorts of work experience adversities every day, but many of them are not directly responsible for the health and lives of other human beings. Nurses are and the adversities they face every day can take a major emotional toll. Nursing is inherently stressful and without strong emotional resiliency, nurses are at a high risk of professional burnout. No nurse is completely immune to this dreaded phenomenon. In fact, the more compassionate and dedicated a nurse is, the more likely he or she is to suffer from burnout at some point. This can be indicated by the following:
- Physical and mental exhaustion
- Feeling overworked and under-appreciated
- Feelings of numbness and detachment
- Avoidance of patients and their families
- Compassion fatigue
Clearly, nursing burnout negatively affects a nurse’s quality of life, as well as his or her overall health. It can also be problematic for the level of patient care the nurse is able to provide. A state of constant stress and feelings of detachment can contribute to forgetfulness, and this can prove disastrous for patient outcomes.
How You Can Cultivate Resiliency
With consistent practice, you can improve your emotional resiliency. Try working on the following:
- Monitor yourself for negative thought patterns, and turn them into positive thought patterns.
- Use every problem as a learning opportunity.
- Be open to offering and receiving acts of kindness.
- Practice gratitude in everyday life.
- Take care of your physical health.
- Embrace comic relief.
Grounded firmly in faith and rooted in a tradition of academic excellence, Grand Canyon University is your opportunity to advance your nursing career. Click on the Request More Information button to explore our innovative RN to BSN degree program.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University.